Become a lake.

The last few days have been pretty crazy around here, thanks to the big move. Prospective tenants and real estate agents have been marching through my living room, there are boxes everywhere, and I’m nowhere near being done with packing. Suffice it to say, it’s been overwhelming. And then I read today’s entry in “The Book of Awakening.” Whoah. It’s as though the words are meant for me, on just this particular day.

A couple years ago, I was watching an episode of Oprah in which she featured “The Book of Awakening” by Mark Nepo. It piqued my interest, and I ended up buying it as a gift for my dad. The book is written as “a series of daily reflections,” with a new entry for each day. When I was home in December, I saw it on the bookshelf, and brought it back with me to read. I like that each entry is only a page or two, so it’s something you can keep up with consistently, even when you’re busy. Like today, for example.

January 15th: How Does It Taste?

An aging Hindu master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.

“How does it taste” the master asked.

“Bitter,” spit the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to a nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked “How does it taste?”

“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.

“No,” said the young man.

At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things… Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

Me and D at Emerald Lake, Thailand, 2010. If I'm going to become a lake, might as well be a warm, tropical one!

A nice reminder that it’s all about perspective. On that note, I’m going to get back to the task at hand, so I can hang out with my friends later. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

7 Comments on “Become a lake.”

  1. Your post spoke to me today, as well. Today is my last day of maternity leave and I’m feeling down. However, if I put into prospective all of my blessings, I feel much better. šŸ™‚ Thanks for your inspiration and good luck with the move!

  2. Never heard of the book before, but it is definitely very interesting. I like the quote about the lake. Reminds us to put things in life in perspective perhaps. Good luck getting ready for your trip. I hope to follow along.

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